Jose Mourinho says Manchester United already represent one of the favourites to win the Europa League after their defeat to Leipzig last night, but believes it is unfair that they will get a second shot at European glory this campaign.
United looked set to secure qualification to the next stage after they collected nine points from their opening four games in Group H, but eventually dropped into the Europa League.
Tottenham, meanwhile, are already assured of a place in the next stage of the Europa League, a competition Mourinho tasted success in during his first season at United, ahead of tomorrow’s game against Royal Antwerp.
Mourinho admitted he felt sympathy for the Red devils after they were drawn in a section along with PSG and Leipzig, but believes their European campaign should be over ‘on a point of principle’.
He said: ‘Yes I am happy with my record because it meant that my clubs they were always in the position of progressing and it is economically important. It’s not just economically important but also for the prestige.
‘Sometimes it is more difficult than others. For example at United, when we lost at home against Juventus, we had to go to Turin and win there to qualify from a very difficult group, also with Valencia.
‘And of course Manchester United become one of the top favourites to win the Europa League. The teams that drop from the Champions League are always strong teams. They are teams that normally don’t belong to that level of the Europa League competition.
‘And of course Manchester United is one of the top teams. The group was very hard, PSG, Manchester, Leipzig, the group was of course very hard. We all knew it was not going to be easy for any one of them, we knew from that group a top team would drop to the Europa League.’
On clubs dropping into the Europa League from the Champions League, the Portuguese manager added: ‘It is a point of principle and if it happened to my team I would feel exactly the same.
‘It is the way it is and honestly brings more quality to the competition, we cannot forget that. When you have eight new teams in the competition and eight teams that belong to another level and they drop to the Europa League of course the level will improve.
‘When the quality improves the attention improves and it’s good for the competition. But from the sports point of view it’s not fair that a team that doesn’t succeed in one competition drops to another.’